While Americans were getting (rightfully) outraged at Trump’s unhinged response to Meryl Streep, he and his team did something a lot scarier.
In a move that signals not only Trump’s rank incompetence but also the serious danger he’s about to put the country in, he told the two men tasked with maintaining and overseeing America’s roughly 4,500 nuclear weapons that they are to get out by Inauguration Day. This simply isn’t done – for obvious reasons.
As Ashley Feinberg at Gizmodo writes:
The NNSA is the $12 billion-a-year agency that “maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” It’s unclear when the two officials will be replaced.
Traditionally, all political appointees of an outgoing presidential administration turn in resignation letters effective on noon of inauguration day, January 20. But appointees in key positions—like the people who make sure our nukes work—are often asked to stay on in their roles until a replacement can be found and confirmed by the Senate, helping ensure a smooth transition and allowing our government to continue functioning.
This is another example of the odd way Trump’s narcissism has manifested itself in his approach to filling his government. Rather than show an interest in a smooth transition and a competent staff, Trump seems to want to scrub the entire government of anyone who has worked for the previous president. Even worse, the replacements Trump is settling on are rarely qualified. He’s opted instead to fill the White House with people he personally likes or those who supported his campaign. Several Fox News contributors, a number of mega-donors, and family members make up Trump’s team.
A group of yes-men isn’t what the country needs when it comes to controlling Trump. He once allegedly asked a stunned room of policy experts why American can’t use its nuclear weapons more freely.
“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them,” Scarborough said on his “Morning Joe” program.
And many of the positions Trump is cleansing of Obama appointees don’t have replacements lined up. Their offices will simply be vacant until Congress approves new nominees, adding an element of hostage-taking to the normally careful process of vetting. “If you don’t confirm my nominees no matter how unqualified, then nobody will be watching our nuclear arsenal.”
It’s not really going out on a limb to say that Trump’s White House may be the most objectively unqualified staff to ever assume office. Just as he is dismissing long-time civil servants deemed unloyal, he announced he would be appointing his own son-in-law Jared Kushner to be his senior White House adviser. Jared is 35, has never worked in government, and owns a media company. (How’s that for conflict of interest?)
At this rate, it wouldn’t be surprising if Trump replaced the nuclear arsenal officials with Melania.
Featured image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images